So, it's about that time of year again, mock draft season, even whole offseason plans for the ambitious ones. It is also the time of year that I am most active as a poster here, because I love the draft and the excitement and hope the offseason brings. I'll try my hand at an offseason mock here, which will probably be my first of many. I used the fanspeak mock draft simulator for the draft portion of my offseason, and I thought it was very effective and accurate (with a few exceptions as you will see). Also, as with most people, I am completely clueless when it comes to the cap, so I am airing on the side of caution and reality when it comes to who we could sign for what price, I will generally base the price of free agents and out cap numbers off of other fanposts here. So, without further ado: (EDIT: The spacing is acting all funny on my computer, hopefully its not to bad.)
Vikings Free Agents:
The logical place to start is the Vikings own free agents, here is the full list followed by who I think we should resign.
From what I can tell we have approximately 26 mil to play with this offseason. Guys I think we should resign:
Everson Griffen 4yr, 6m/yr I think we have a great player in the wings here if he starts, however I doubt other teams are going to roll out the dough for a rotational player last year, 6mil should get him.
Jerome Simpson 1yr, 2m I know a lot of you guys don't like him, but he was our leading receiver for a lot of the year last year, he is really our biggest deep threat/jump ball guy until Patterson can show he can do that on a regular basis. If he wants more years or money then let him walk.
J'Marcus Webb 1yr, 800K If it takes two years then go ahead and do that, but I don't think he will get a ton of offers.
Joe Berger 2yr, 1.5m/yr Good back up that is versatile, again, if someone wants to pay him more, then let him go, but we should be able to retain him.
Chris Cook 1yr, 2m I'd go 2 years if he really wanted it but for no more money, I think Zimmer can make him a good corner, but I'm not risking more then 1 or 2 years or more then 2 mil on it.
Kevin Williams 1yr, 3m I hate to give a guy that means so much to our franchise a 1 year deal, but he is simply getting older and wont be effective for much longer, he can maybe start, but at the least will rotate in and be a good part time player.
Fred Evans 1yr, 1m If it takes 2 years to sign him then fine, but put him on a prove it deal for some decent depth.
Marcus Sherels 2yr, 800K/yr He is a very good punt returner and wasn't terrible when pressed into duty as a CB this year, and he is from Minnesota, give him a 2 year deal vs a 1 year deal as a sort of courtesy for being arguably our 2nd best corner this year.
Joe Webb 1yr, 800K If we don't resign Simpson, sign him for depth, and even if we do, bring him in and let him compete in camp, at the very least he is a good blocker.I'd let the rest walk, that is about 18 mil spent on our own free agents, leaving us with 8 mil, now for cuts:
This adds 7.5 mil to our cap, giving us $15.5m, I would also reconstructure Chad Greenway adding 2.5m, (If he doesn't want to reconstructure, I have no problem cutting him, but plenty of athletes have had down years, so I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe he will bounce back) giving us a grand total of 18 mil heading into Free Agency.
Lets say Rookies will cost us $10 mil to sign, so we have only $8m to sign free agents. Now, before you throw me to the wolves for spending to much on our own free agents, remember, I said that I wanted to be realistic in this plan rather then a dream scenario.
I think we are out of the Alterraun Verner sweepstakes even if we had the money, but I would like to add a CB in free agency, along with a Guard who can compete with Berger and Baca for the starting LG spot. (I do have the benefit of hindsight with the draft however, as I already did the mock before this, which is what inspired me to do a whole offseason plan, so my targets may be a little different then if I did Free Agents first.)
Walter Thurmond CB 4yr, 3m/yr
He plays on the best defense in the league and is about to play in the Super Bowl. He plays almost exclusively slot for the Seahawks and excels in that role, a slot corner is EXTREMELY important to the Vikings because we don't have a decent one and we have to play Rodgers, Cutler, and Stafford 6 times a year. We got burned out of the slot a lot last year and this allows Robinson to compete with Cook on the outside, where he showed promise two years ago. Thurmond is 26 and should be a great addition.
Roger Saffold OG 3yr, 4m/yr
A second round pick by the Rams in 2010, Saffold is a steady, 26 year old Guard, who, admittedly, I don't know much about, because he is a guard. But he is young, and was taken as the 1st pick in the 2nd round, so I'm assuming he should be pretty good, he was the 51st best free agent and I believe the 3rd or 4th best free agent guard according to NFL trade rumors.com. If someone wants to do some research on him, that would be great, please enlighten me.
This leaves 1m I will save until right before training camp, I think we should wait and determine what position we need depth at then and use the remaining money on maybe an aging player that isn't getting a ton of offers or someone that has slipped through the cracks (Dwight Freeny last year) or we could just use it on rookies, as I may have sold their salaries a bit short. Also, I like both of these pick ups so you could also use this money to add to their contracts to ensure you get them.
Ahhh, finally, the best part, like I said I used fanspeak's mock draft simulator, I'll post the full first round, followed by all of the Vikings remaining picks. (No trades)
Houston Texans 1. QB Derek Carr, A surprise, but hey anything can happen I guess, this is about the most unlikely thing that happens in this draft, which, with draft simulators, I think is pretty good as far as accuracy goes.
St. Louis Rams 2. OT Jake Matthews
Jacksonville Jaguars 3. QB Johnny Manziel
Cleveland Browns 4. QB Blake Bortles
Oakland Raiders 5. QB Teddy Bridgewater
Atlanta Falcons 6. DE Jadeveon Clowney
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7. DE/DT Stephon Tuitt
Minnesota Vikings 8. OLB/DE Anthony Barr, My plan all along was to draft a QB here, but with the mess that the first 7 picks were, I had to abandon that thought and go with Barr, who would be a steal here, many people have Barr as the best prospect in the draft, next to Clowney. Despite him being more of a fit in a 3-4, Zimmer should be able to turn this kid into a beast. He is an athletic freak who reportedly can run a 4.48 40, the senior has 10 sacks and 22 tackles for losses this past year and the ceiling on this kid is incredible, having only played LB for 2 years, previously playing RB. He relies on his athleticism right now as opposed to technique, but this is understandable, having only two years of LB experience. Under Zimmer, he should transform into one of the best players in the game.
Buffalo Bills 9. Ryan Shazier OLB
Detroit Lions 10. Sammy Watkins WR
Tennessee Titans 11. Khalil Mack OLB
New York Giants 12. Dee Ford OLB
St. Louis Rams 13. Ha'sean Clinton Dix S
Chicago Bears 14. Ra'Shede Hageman DT
Pittsburgh Steelers 15. Cyrus Kouandijo OT
Dallas Cowboys 16. Zach Martin OT
Baltimore Ravens 17. Greg Robinson OT
New York Jets 18. Mike Evans WR
Miami Dolphins 19. Taylor Lewan OT
Arizona Cardinals 20. Antonio Richardson OT
Green Bay Packers 21. Jace Amaro TE
Philadelphia Eagles 22. CJ Mosley ILB
Kansas City Chiefs 23. Eric Ebron TE
Cincinnati Bengals 24. Travis Swanson C
San Diego Chargers 25. Kony Ealy DE
Cleveland Browns 26. Kelvin Benjamin WR
New Orleans Saints 27. Darqueze Dennard CB
Carolina Panthers 28. Marquise Lee WR
New England Patriots 29. Louis Nix III DT
San Francisco 49ers 30. Justin Gilbert CB
Denver Broncos 31. Bradley Roby CB
Seattle Seahawks 32. Odell Beckham JR. WR
Now for the rest of the Vikings picks:
2nd round 40 overall: Timmy Jernigan DT, He is 6'2" 298 and was a key component to the Championship winning FSU Seminoles. He was their man in the middle and in the Championship game Auburn was able to run all over FSU when he was out of the game catching his breath. This is a concern, his conditioning, but with Williams and Evans resigned, they should be able to rotate in. He was a 2nd team all American and led FSU in tackles for loss last year.
3rd round 72 overall: Christian Jones ILB/OLB/DE Jones did it all last year for FSU, rushing the passer, and dropping into coverage. He is one of the best coverage linebackers in the draft, which will be very refreshing to see, and has the versatility to play inside or out for the Vikings.
3rd round 90 overall: Zach Mettenberger QB Mettenberger finished the season 192-of-296 passing for 3,082 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has shown the ability to take care of the football and throw deep with accuracy, something that the Vikings have been missing lately. The knee is obviously and issue, but we have Sugarman, so he will be in good hands, he can sit for a year and learn the ropes from Cassel while his knee heals. Also, with being a late 3rd round pick the Vikings don't have a huge commitment to him and can draft a rookie 1st round next year if they don't have faith in him. He fits Norv's offense to a tee and should have plenty of weapons around him to make the transition to the pros easier. Someone else recently did a very good fanpost on Mettenberger, so give that a look if you want to know more.
4th round 104 overall: Craig Loston S I saw a couple LSU games last year and the player who sticks out most in my mind isn't Mettenberger, it isn't Beckham JR or any of the other talented players on LSU, but Craig Loston. The 6'1" 214 SS simply made plays, he was all over the place taking down ball carriers or deflecting passes He was extremely fun to watch and would provide competition to Sanford and Sendejo and could even start right away. Loston has good instincts and is an aggressive, explosive hitter, in many ways he is very similar to Harrison Smith. His aggression sometimes draws flags for helmet to helmet hits, but overall is a great playmaker with good ball skills and is a great hitter. This would give us a dangerous safety duo for years to come.
Round 5 136 overall: Deion Belue CB I was shocked Belue lasted this long. He was Alabama's top cover corner last year and would provide great depth. If Cook and Robinson don't work out, Belue could easily be groomed to start in a couple years. He doesn't have great size at 5'11" and 183, but he wins positioning battles with WR a lot and has great technique, not a superb tackler, but not terrible either.
Round 6 168 overall: De'Anthony Thomas RB I believe Gerhart is leaving and we have a big back that is capable of backing up AP already in Asiata, with Line on the PS I believe, however, what we don't have, is a scatback. Thomas runs a 4.3 and is one of the most explosive players in college football. Many of you already know about him so I wont go into great detail here, but he would make a great compliment in Norv Turners offense and add another weapon to the offense that would make the QB's job that much easier.
Round 7 200 Overall: Shaq Evans WR Evans was Brett Hundleys top target last year and would provide insurance in case Jerome Simpson does leave. He had 47 receptions for over 700 yards and 9 TD's last year and runs a high 4.4 low 4.5 in the 40 yard dash. He is a big bodied receiver at 6'1" and 210 lbs. with deceptive speed and maneuverability. He regressed after a great junior year which put him in the Bilentnikoff conversation for the 2013 preseason. His junior year he put up 60 receptions for 877 yards with a freshman QB.
There you have it, with this offseason our depth chart would look something like this.
QB- Cassel Mettenberger(INJ) Ponder
RB- Peterson Asiata/Thomas(Camp battle, but Asiata will probably be main back up with Thomas used as an offensive weapon)
TE- Rudolph Ford Elliason
WR- Jennings Patterson Simpson Wright Evans Webb
LT- Kalil I'm drawing a blank, is Kevin Murphy the backup?
LG- Saffold Baca
C- Sullivan Berger
RG- Fusco Berger/Baca
RT- Loadholt Webb
24/25 players (Murphy)
DE- Robison Griffen Trattou (In this scenario Barr, Jones and probably Floyd would all be rotated in on some scenarios and see more time then Trattou.)
DT- Floyd Jernigan Williams Evans
OLB- Barr Greenway Hodges Dean
MLB- Jones Mauti Cole (In the linebacker scenario, Im assuming we stay in a 4-3 and Barr will be moved around, MLB will be a camp battle and we could potentially move Jones to the outside....whatever works best, there is a lot of combinations that Im sure Zimmer can pull off.)
CB- Rhodes Cook Thurmond Robinson Sherels Prater (again a position battle for Zimmer to decide on.)
FS- Smith Raymond
SS- Sanford/Loston/Sendejo/Blanton (another position battle, Blanton isn't really a canadite, but I through him in there.)
LS-Whatever the hell his name is
Total of 53 player with either Blanton Prater or Murphy being cut (If Murphy is even on the team, if he's not, then we are fine.)
So there you have it, if this were to be an ideal situation I would've like to get a QB in the first round and have more spending money in free agency and gotten someone like Verner, all in all I like how this played out, not a perfect scenario, but I think it is very reasonable. Let me know if you like it. SKOL!